Lt. Governor Crit Luallen’s Communications Office
Lt. Gov. Luallen Highlights Countdown to Downtown Bridge Opening
Groundbreaking site revisited by federal, state, local officials
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Counting down to the opening of the new Ohio River bridge in downtown Louisville, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez today revisited the site of the groundbreaking ceremony he attended two years ago, witnessing firsthand the dramatically changed landscape. The groundbreaking site now sits in the shadow of a nearly-complete bridge that will be open to interstate traffic in less than four months.
Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen said the project will be transformational for the region.
“We can already see dramatic progress on the downtown bridge,” Lt. Gov. Luallen said. “And we know it will mean safer, more efficient daily commutes for many local residents. But the real transformation will be in the economic impact of this bridge. This project will spur economic activity throughout the entire region for years to come.”
“This bridge project epitomizes the kind of modern transportation investments that our country needs, and our department was proud to support it by providing roughly $1 billion in federal funding and loans,” Deputy Secretary Mendez said. “The Administration will continue pushing for the passage of a long-term transportation bill that will allow us to do more of this across the country.”
“Louisville commuters have been able to watch this new bridge rise from the river,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock said. “Today, all of us can see the way it towers above us. But the true measure of this bridge will be taken by the generations that come after us. This is the infrastructure they will use for decades to come, to build the economy of tomorrow.”
Building for the Future
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the bridges project is not only a vital link in the logistics network – which is an important economic driver in a city that is a logistics capital – but is also a symbol of a new era in Louisville. “We are done with the days when we talked for decades before putting a shovel in the dirt,” Fischer said. “We are entering an era of unprecedented investment in the infrastructure needed for a mid-21st Century economy.”
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said: “We talked about the bridges project for so long that even when we broke ground, I know many people had their doubts. But today, just four months from the opening of the Downtown Crossing, there is no doubting that this project will soon transform our infrastructure and generate economic growth for our region for decades to come.”
Jeffersonville, Indiana, Mayor Mike Moore said the bridge marks a giant leap forward in the transportation grid for the entire region.
“Two years ago, it was hard to fully imagine the size and scope of this bridge,” Mayor Moore said. “In the same way, two years from now we will be amazed at the size and the scope of the impact this bridge is making on our community and our local economy.”
Final Pieces Coming Together
The visit by Deputy Secretary Mendez is part of a crescendo of activities leading up to the opening of the cable-stayed bridge, which is the centerpiece of the Downtown Crossing portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
- By mid-October, the bridge will be in its “final shape,” with all 88 stay cables in place
- By late-October, the bridge deck will extend from bank to bank, with all piers connected.
- By late fall, the deck of the bridge will be poured.
- By January, the bridge will open to two-way traffic for Interstate 65. (The bridge will eventually carry only northbound traffic.)
When the new bridge opens to two-way traffic, crews with lead contractor Walsh Construction Co. will begin making $22 million in improvements to the adjacent John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, which now carries all I-65 traffic. A new floor system will be built on top of existing floor beams, adding decades of new life to the 52-year-old bridge. The entire Downtown Crossing – the new cable-stayed bridge, the improved Kennedy Bridge and interstate connections on both sides of the river – will be complete by December 2016.
Find more information on the Ohio River Bridges Project at www.kyinbridges.com. Navigate traffic with KYTC, www.511.ky.gov, and Waze, www.waze.com.